Need Resources or Benefits?
You’ve Come to the Right Place
I am often stunned when a member suggests carrying a benefit that the MSBA
already offers. I can only assume that we do not take notice of what services
and benefits are offered until they are required. This month, I will take the
opportunity to remind members of the services that our department (LOMA) and
other departments at the MSBA provide. I know it is often difficult to remember
what services we offer, but they are always listed on the website under Member
Benefits and Services for your reference. Get ready, because we are going to
let you know how we can help you. Pay attention; there is going to be a quiz
at the end.
There are many items listed on the member benefits page (www.msba.org/departments/membership/benefit.htm).
For instance, some of the vendors that provide discounts/services to members
- Office Depot. Members can receive discounts on more than 14,000
catalog items, order online and receive free next-day delivery. There is
a link to a form which you send to Office Depot for your number to receive
- Postini Anti-Virus Protection and Spam-Filtering. This
is a service provided through System Source. We use this product at Bar Headquarters,
and I think it is a great way to minimize your spam and protect your computers.
- Medical, life, disability and dental insurance. At Franklin
Morris, our endorsed agent, you can find the best product for your firm.
They do not sell one particular product and will try the best options for
your particular needs.
- Credit Card Processing Services. More and more practitioners
are accepting credit cards for payments. MBSA maintains a relationship with
Bank of America to offer its members not just credit cards for their own
use but for credit card processing services as well.
- Document management solutions. Advance Office Systems does
more than just sell copiers. They help practitioners with scanning and document
- Free legal research through FastCase. Always remember that
the MSBA offers all of its members free legal research using FastCase. Although
it is for members only, you do not need to register or sign up to
use it. You simply need to click on the FastCase icon at www.msba.org,
give your member ID and use it. There is nothing more to it.
Other Helpful Services
- Ethics Hotline. This is a monthly list of members on the
Ethics Hotline (www.msba.org/departments/membership/ethics_hotline.htm)
- Law Office Management Assistance. Articles on office management
and technology and lists of information packets are available for members
- ABA publications. There is also a list of many ABA publications
which MSBA members can purchase at a discount of 30 percent off non-ABA member
- ID badges. Applications for Court House ID badges can be
found at www.msba.org/departments/administration/idbadge.htm. They
can be printed and mailed to the MSBA for your ID Badge.
- Member Directory. All MSBA members are listed on the website
(unless they have requested to not be listed). It is possible to search on
a variety of ways to find a lawyer. The directory is available to the general
public. Members of the public can search on last name, law firm, county,
practice area, section membership and state. For example, a member of the
public could find a family law lawyer from Baltimore County who is licensed
in both Maryland and Pennsylvania.
- Publications. The Table of Contents for all editions of
Bar Journal are listed on the website, and many of the articles from
the Bar Bulletin are also online at www.msba.org/departments/commpubl/publications/index.htm.
We also have six months of MSBA Bar Briefs and Bar Events listed
Did you also know that practitioners can purchase many of the MSBA Legal
Information Brochures? A list of all legal brochures and the text of each
are available online, as well as ordering information, can be found at www.msba.org/departments/commpubl/publications/brochures/index.htm.
- Career Center. The Young Lawyers Section sponsors the Legal
Career Center where attorneys and employers can go to find or list jobs.
This is a national search engine and can be found at http://www.jobtarget.com/home/index.cfm?site_id=12317.
- Legal Vendor E-Mall. This is the place to go to find vendors
that provide services and products specific to the legal community in Maryland
(www.msba.org/links/emall/default.asp). This should be the first place
you look to find what your firm needs.
For Members Only
These sites can only be accessed by entering your MSBA e-mail and password.
- Electronic Bar Briefs (EBB). This is a service that will e-mail
you daily a synopsis of Court of Appeals and Court of Special Appeals opinions
(www.msba.org/members/ebb/index.htm). It is free and for members only.
You can choose from a list of 15 practice areas.
- Ethics Opinions. A searchable, printable list of all MSBA
Ethic Opinions is available online at www.msba.org/members/default.asp.
- Mentoring Program. This is a list of 250 members of the
MSBA who have volunteered to answer questions on a variety of topics (www.msba.org/members/default.asp).
They are listed by county and have practice area information.
- Sections. More and more MSBA Sections and Committees are
posting information about their meetings, events and other information on
their websites. Many have also started conducting surveys. There is a list
of all Section Council members. Section newsletters are also available online
for Section members only. A list of all Sections can be found at www.msba.org/sec_comm/index.htm.
Most Sections have very active and helpful Email Lists, but you must belong
to a Section to participate. A list of all Email Lists is at www.msba.org/sec_comm/lists/index.htm.
Resources and Information
Through LOMA we provide information on many software applications. We have
a small library of reviews and articles describing various software packages.
We try to keep the reviews as up to date as possible, and we will forward that
information to any member who requests it. For a list of the reviews we have
available, please visit www.msba.org/departments/loma/infopacks.htm.
Our office receives many calls each week from new and experienced
practitioners regarding such matters as equipment, accounting, technology,
etc. We have created many information packets that assist solo practitioners
with these requests. Some of the information is located directly on our website
while others will need to be requested and mailed to you. For articles on the
website, go to www.msba.org/departments/loma/articles/articles.htm;
for a list of other articles, please visit www.msba.org/departments/loma/infopacks.htm.
The information is on starting a practice, marketing and client development,
office management, characteristics of an efficient practice and technology
We have become the telephone help desk for law practice management and technology
for solo and small firm practitioners throughout the state, receiving more
than 50 calls a week for advice or information. If you have any questions and
do not know where to start, call our office. We may not be able to answer all
your questions, but we can find someone who can.
We also make available to our members ABA publications that relate to technology
or law practice management issues. They are available for a discount online
We have a "How to Start a Solo Packet" which is a package of items which
must be considered when starting a solo practice.
Additionally, each month's issue of the Bar Bulletin features a "Solo
and Small Firm Practitioner" column on topics of interest to solo/small firm
practitioners, either written by a solo practitioner or myself. The column
is practical and offers tips and suggestions on managing a small law office
as well as free additional information on a variety of topics.
We cosponsor programs with local bar associations on issues relating to efficiently
managing a solo practice. These programs have been designed for experienced
practitioners as well as new practitioners. Almost all of our programs are
scheduled on Saturdays or evenings to make it easier for solo and small firm
practitioners to attend. In addition to the law practice management programs
with local bars, we also present a Solo and Small Firm Conference each November.
This all-day program features as many as 25 different sessions on topics such
as technology, profitability, employees, marketing, client development, stress
and time management and other pertinent issues for solo and small firm practitioners.
In addition, MICPEL sponsors a track with legal topics. Also in attendance
are many vendors with services and products specifically for solo and small
In conjunction with the Solo and Small Firm Practice Section, we also have
three "How to Start a Solo Practice" programs each year to assist new practitioners
in setting up a law practice. The programs are always held on the last Saturdays
in January and June and are usually held in Laurel. The next program will be
at the Holiday Inn in Laurel on June 30, 2007. The third program is scheduled
on the Friday before the Solo Conference, November 3, at the BWI Marriott.
The topics covered are marketing, business aspects of starting a practice,
how to avoid malpractice, attorney/client relationships, etc. All of the presenters
are experienced members of the bar who have practical advice for new practitioners.
In 1999, the Solo and Small Firm Section was able to sponsor Solo Day at
the MSBA Annual Meeting. This was created specifically to give solo and small
firm practitioners the opportunity to attend the MSBA Annual Meeting for one
day of educational programs designed specifically for solo and small firm practitioners.
It is on a Friday, and entails a one-day registration fee.
This year's Solo Day is on Friday, June 15, and there will be sessions on
the changes to Rule 1.15, a mock trial for Workers' Compensation, a demonstration
on e-filing, information for non-real estate lawyers on how to represent your
client at a settlement and the ever-popular tech program. This year's afternoon
speaker will be retired Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, talking about how
solos and small firm practitioners can and should use the resources of the
Attorney General's office.
Then there is the Solo and Small Firm Conference, which will be held this
year on Friday and Saturday, November 3 and 4 at the BWI Marriott. On Friday,
in addition to the "How to Start a Solo Practice Track", there will be a half-day
program on the basics of starting to become a paperless office. For more information
on how to get started with this technology, mark your calendars.
This is just a snapshot of all the services we provide through the MSBA,
Law Office Management and the website. There is so much more. For more information,
go to www.msba.org, or contact Pat Yevics at (800) 492-1964, ext. 3039,
or firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember, if I do not have the answer, I will help
you find it.